Candles at Nine

Candles at Nine is a 1944 British mystery film directed by John Harlow and starring Jessie Matthews, John Stuart and Beatrix Lehmann.[2] A wealthy man jokes about being murdered for his inheritance but is then found dead. His money is left to a distant female relative and attempts now begin on her life too.[3]

Candles at Nine
Opening title
Directed byJohn Harlow
Produced byWallace Orton
Screenplay byBasil Mason
John Harlow
Based onnovel The Mouse Who Wouldn't Play Ball by Anthony Gilbert[1]
StarringJessie Matthews
John Stuart
Beatrix Lehmann
Music byscore composed & directed by:
Charles Williams
CinematographyJames Wilson
Edited byVi Burdon (uncredited)
Distributed byAnglo-American Film Corporation (UK)
Release date
  • 1944 (1944)
Running time
82 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom


After the mysterious death of wealthy old Everard Hope (Eliot Makeham), his avaricious relatives are little pleased to discover that his estate has been left to distant relation Dorothea Capper (Jessie Matthews), a young showgirl. The one condition of the will is that she must stay in Hope's spooky mansion for a month. After several attempts on Dorothea's life, detective William Gardener (John Stuart) decides to investigate.


Critical reception

TV Guide dismissed the film as a "Tedious mystery";[4] while Allmovie wrote, "the creaky pacing by director John Harlow makes the first half of the movie seem more soporific than atmospheric...the movie finally takes off when Matthews shows up on screen, and the visuals, the editing, the music, and the pacing all come to life. The problem there is that she looks a little long-of-tooth for the role she's playing, in terms of the element of wide-eyed wonder that she must display at her sudden good fortune -- at 37, even with lots of energy and great makeup, she looks awkward doing a role that would have been better suited to her in 1934. Beatrix Lehmann's portrayal of the housekeeper whose services she inherits comes from the Judith Anderson school of performing...and her creepy portrayal is one of the best things in the movie. There are also a couple of charming (and brief) musical sequences, one of them breaking the tension at just the right moment as the thriller's plot winds tighter. The whole thing doesn't hang together seamlessly, but it's an enjoyable diversion, if one hangs in past the first 18 minutes' tedium."[5]


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